WHAT IS BRIDGING THE DIVIDES?
The concept of “bridging divides” signals the need to overcome long-standing divisions that have served as roadblocks to the development of Puerto Rican Studies. This includes linguistic, geographic, and ideological divides as well methodological ones. Although Puerto Rican Studies constitutes an intellectual field, most scholars come to the study of Puerto Rico through training in other fields—many of which are still weighed down by outdated canons, and not-yet-decolonized methods. To this end, CENTRO seeks to convene researchers working in different modes: scholarly, journalistic, and artistic. CENTRO believes that this undertaking requires the participation of scholars who can ground the conversation in historical, cultural, and legal research, but also the participation of journalists who are uniquely capable of communicating to broad audiences and shaping public debate.
Lastly, the work of artists is particularly critical to the development of the new epistemic frameworks that the current political and cultural moment requires. Artists have a unique ability to blaze new, imaginative pathways through the revelation of emergent ways of thinking on the threshold of consciousness. Rather than setting artists apart from scholars and journalists, this approach recognizes that artists are also researchers and often also scholars. By convening scholars, journalists, and artists in this work, the hope is to spur not only the production of academic texts, but also of public scholarship, journalistic writing, and artistic products that can help bridge disciplinary silos and plant new seeds for reimagining and re-envisioning the Puerto Rican future.
WHAT IS THE DECOLONIZATION STUDY GROUP?
The Decolonization Study Group will kick off in Summer of 2022 in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico Law School, to address the long-standing question of Puerto Rico’s decolonization. The conveners of the group are Dr. Yarimar Bonilla, Executive Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and Dr. Efrén Rivera Ramos, full professor and former Dean of the UPR Law School.
The group will consist of two co-conveners and a "seed group" (grupo semilla) of 10 scholars, journalists and artists/cultural workers from both Puerto Rico and the Diaspora assisted by a team of 4 research assistants. Members of the seed group are expected to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week to the project. Activities will consist of: biweekly zoom meeting, workshops, panels, roundtable discussions and public lectures. Members will participate in two in-person retreats: one at the University of Puerto Rico and another at Hunter College (Covid restrictions permitting). All meetings will be bilingual with interpretation provided, and final products will be available in both English and Spanish.
In addition, the group will recruit a broad array of thought leaders, activists, scholars, and the community at large to form part of thematic working groups, panel discussions, workshops, lectures, and town hall meetings.